Foreword by Tom and Alex

Tom: I think Androux as a story needs a decent amount of context; about a year ago, a month or so into the first COVID lockdown, Alex sent me a paragraph of mostly incomprehensible gibberish that would become the first chapter of The Adventures of Androux. The idea was that Alex would write a short paragraph of a story, then I would write the next paragraph. We’d then pass it back and forth between the two of us in this way until we had something resembling an actual story, all without any prior planning beforehand. We’d talked about the idea of writing a story in this way before, but never really got around to actually doing it. Since we had both accumulated a lot of free time due to the entire world shutting down, we thought now would be the opportune time to try it for real. Fast forward to almost a year later, we’ve written book 1 consisting of almost 15000 words, transcribed the majority of it into an audiobook, designed cover art for each volume and written a large portion of book 2. Funny how things work out.

So, what actually is Androux? Good question – a question which neither me or Alex have much of an answer for. Since we wrote the entire story up on the fly, we didn’t have any kind of coherent vision of what we wanted Androux to actually be. I guess this was more or less the point, as it started out as nothing more than a fun creative writing exercise to pass the time. I do think however, as you get further into the story of Androux, certain themes do start to gradually emerge. There’s certainly a satirical angle to the story; I wanted to poke fun at various internet cultures and groups such as internet film critics, for no other reason other than that they annoy me. I think Alex was mostly on the same page as me with this, but she noticeably seemed more focused on writing an actual plot where stuff happens, as supposed to ranting about things I personally don’t like.

If there ever was a central theme to Androux, it would probably be the rejection of convention; going against the grain and trying something completely different, all largely stemming from the inherently unconventional way Androux was written and conceived. Because of this there was a certain creative freedom that came from writing Androux that we wouldn’t have otherwise had – the improvisational nature of the writing process meant that we could add basically whatever we wanted and get away with it. Sure, it meant that the story was very unpolished, but it was nonetheless very enjoyable to write for. The downside to this is that I imagine that if you look at Androux from a more objective standpoint, it sucks. The story is riddled with enough plotholes and inconsistencies that it could hypothetically resemble some kind of Swiss cheese. Though despite its obvious shortcomings, I think Androux still tells a story which is at the very least funny and enjoyable, if inherently flawed. It’s certainly the kind of story that I don’t think anyone other than me and Alex could have written. And no, I don’t mean that in a “you need to be so smart to understand it” kind of way.

I like to think that everything that could be considered wrong with Androux is part of what gives it its charm. We always viewed it as a “warts and all” kind of story – any mistakes we made we kept in and tried to make them work. Once one of us wrote a part for the next person to continue from, we vowed to never go back and change anything we’d written. This process forced us adapt to whatever the previous person had written, making us to consider ideas and possibilities we otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. For example, there are quite a few characters that were only supposed to show up for a volume or two that ended up become main characters. RickAndMortyFan69 for instance, is a character I wrote that I only envisioned being in the story for a few paragraphs. Due to Alex’s intervention however, he ended up becoming Androux’s main rival of sorts. Another good example would be SouthParkFan420, who I only intended to make an incredibly brief appearance, but Alex decided to make him the main villain of book 1.

At time of writing, book 1 has been fully written and the first 9 volumes of it are available to the public; on the Unqualified Studios YouTube channel as audio and on this website as text. Alex will upload the remaining 3 volumes onto YouTube when she’s finished editing, after which I will release the full transcript of them on here. I’ve never really considered myself much of a writer, but I hope you all enjoy The Adventures of Androux in all its absurdity. It’s helped me and Alex understand ourselves more as creators, pushing us to try out completely new things outside our normal expertise. I will always look upon the creation of this bizarre story with fond memories, as it helped both of us keep sane during lockdown. Before I sign off, it’s important to note that the format of the story changes around volume 8 – partially to accumulate the audio format better, but mostly because we got sick of writing the word “said” over and over again (you’ll understand when you get that far). Just a heads up – “warts and all” you know.

T.D.A 04/04/2021

Alex: When I wrote the first entry of what became known as “Androux”, it was written with the intention of being nothing more than a fun literary project between two people that was never really intended to see the light of day as a published piece. The concept was simple; those of you who have studied acting or drama at some point may be familiar with a warm-up exercise called “Yes and”. The aim in this game is to improvise a scene where whatever the other participant says, you have to accept whole-heartedly as fact no matter how absurd. Androux was simply a literary derivative of this; there was one rule, whatever is said cannot be unsaid.

Writing for this strange project was in many ways a useful tool as it encouraged us both, who have fundamentally different approaches in many ways to storytelling, to adapt and think of things in ways we otherwise wouldn’t whilst writing a story. It was exciting to have no idea what the future held for a story you were writing (and at times frustrating). I think it was a few volumes in on the writing side that I suggested we release it as an audiobook; as well as writing I am also a lover of voice acting but often struggle to find material, and there it was, a shimmering golden-turd mine of material. Because of this decision, for me the project became a challenging tool in more ways than one, not only was I writing, but now I was also voicing every single character and editing it all together into a releasable product. While I wouldn’t say any of it is professional grade I still feel I made improvements in the area as I went; the voices all started out as stupid caricatures of voices which I developed over time into slightly less stupid caricatures of voices.

While the project is in no way related, it coincided with a time of great change in my life as I first started to come out to friends and family as trans-gender (Male to Female) not more than a couple of months into this project. Between then and now I have seen myself change greatly and for the better in so many aspects of my life and so it stands to reason that so too has the way I express myself.  I recently started on a new project which is much truer to the type of writing I really want to do; with this now taking up much of my spare time coupled with a diminished passion for writing Androux, I made the decision to step down from the project, with my last contribution being putting together the remaining audiobook volumes. Nevertheless I will always have fond memories of my part in bringing this strange project to life. What is said cannot be unsaid, and sometimes that’s a great thing.

AWR 05/04/2021